Regulations, Covid-19 influencing commercial vehicle demand

by Today's Trucking

COLUMBUS, Ind. – The Covid-19 pandemic and regulations calling for zero emissions vehicles are shaping commercial vehicle demand, according to a new report from ACT Research and Rhein Associates.

N.A. Commercial Vehicle On-Highway Engine Outlook notes an increase in last mile deliveries resulting from more online ordering – a trend accelerated by the pandemic.

“The trucking industry has rebounded strongly, with spot freight rates at record highs and increased new truck order intake leading to raised 2020 industry outlooks for the medium and heavy-duty segments,” said Kenny Vieth, president and senior analyst with ACT Research. “More home deliveries because of Covid are further influencing the trucking industry, amplifying the shift to reduced-distance routes and increasing last mile deliveries.”

electric vehicle sign
(Photo: istock)

Added Andrew Wrobel, senior powertrain analyst at Rhein Associates, “On the regulation side, California’s Governor issued an executive order to require new passenger vehicle sales be zero-emission by 2035. For commercial vehicles, drayage trucks will follow the 2035 timeframe, while medium and heavy trucks will need to be zero emissions by 2045. The order also requires state agencies to accelerate development of affordable fueling and charging options.”

But natural gas engine demand remains flat.

“The outlook for natural gas-powered Class 8 vehicles shows limited growth from today’s low market share levels, and despite the current pandemic, electric vehicle product development and new introductions continue. That said, each alternative fuel has its place,” Wrobel said.

“Truck fleets remain the primary users of natural gas engines, with refuse the leading vocational application, while medium-duty applications are identified as a primary adopting group of electric commercial vehicles because of their urban applications, with limited daily mileage and most returning to base overnight for easier recharge. School buses are also good candidates for alternative fuels, from propane to natural gas to electric.”

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